by Tom Utescher
Making its 2015 debut in the summer basketball league at Gwynedd Mercy Academy last Wednesday, the girls of Germantown Academy looked masterful at times, and a little shaky at others as they pulled out a 34-32 victory over a team made up of players from Souderton High School.
GA was up 29-16 in the middle of the second half, but with some younger players on the floor in the closing minutes, the Patriots gave up ground and the Indians made it a close one. One of the goals of summer ball is to give as many players as possible a significant number of minutes, and Germantown had nine girls on the score sheet by the end of the game.
Rising senior forward Lauren Oeth rang up a team-high 12 points, while her classmates at guard, Erin Lindahl and Kendall Grasela, finished with six and four points, respectively. Forward Alexa Naessens scored three points and fellow rising sophomore Cat Polisano, a guard, deposited a free throw. Each scoring one field goal in the contest were senior Maeve Connor (guard), junior Lilly Bolen (forward), and a pair of freshmen-to-be, Emily Morrissey and Taylor Putnam.
After inside baskets by Oeth and Connor opened the game’s scoring, Souderton started out with a lone free throw and then added a pair of field goals to take its only lead of the night, 5-4. A Grasela lay-up then started a string of eight straight GA points, putting the Patriots in charge.
Later on, Morrissey scored from the paint for her first upper school basket. Another ninth-grader on the floor, Rachel Balzer, played summer ball with the varsity/JV group last year as a rising eighth-grader, but she did not play varsity ball during the regular winter season.
A late three-pointer and two free throws allowed Souderton to close the gap before halftime, when the tally was 18-14. GA made a strong start in the second period thanks to Lindahl, who rang up the first points of the new half with a trey from the right wing, and then came back down the court to deposit a transition lay-up.
GA cruised from there, subbing frequently, but things got just a little too close near the end. After an 8-0 run by the Indians tightened the score to 33-30, Souderton called time-out with 1:03 on the clock. Naessens was fouled and hit the second of two free throws, putting GA’s final total on the board.
One of the Indians’ guards was fouled on a successful drive down the lane, but she missed the free throw after her field goal, and Germantown preserved its two-point lead until the buzzer.
Summer hoops host Gwynedd Mercy, a Catholic Academies rival of Mount St. Joseph’s, had opened its warm weather campaign with a 39-14 romp over Hatboro Horsham High School the previous evening. The Mounties are not playing summer hoops together this year. They were longtime members of the Lou Cappiella League in Roxborough, but director Brian Morris announced this spring that the league was ending an 18-year run.
Now in its second year, the Gwynedd Mercy League has attracted a solid group of summer squads, and the gym is now air-conditioned, to boot.